Landlording can be rewarding but it can also be challenging. Problems can arise out of the blue, and sooner or later, you’ll find yourself dealing with a raging tenant who isn’t happy with how things are done. And as their landlord, it’s your responsibility to listen to their complaints and address them amicably. Whether your tenant is furious at your property management company for following up their rent, or angry that their neighbors are throwing late-night parties, here’s how to handle tense situations with your tenants:
A Word of Caution for Handling Angry Tenants
It’s important to understand that there’s no single approach to handling angry tenants. Not all tenants are the same, and with that said, your tenants will have various “triggers” to their anger. For instance, one tenant might be open to settling the problem amicably, while another tenant might be too angry to sort things out. Ultimately, there’s no way to predict how your tenants will react.
If your tenant is making you feel like your safety is at risk, do not attempt to deal with the situation. Some tenants can get hostile when faced with something they don’t agree with. Let your property management company handle it, or if it gets too intense, consult the authorities and settle things in court. Do not put yourself in danger for the sake of making your tenant happy.
Dealing With an Angry Tenant
No matter how hard you try to keep your tenants happy, there will always be one or two tenants that get angry. When this happens, understanding how to deal with angry tenants can help you stop things from getting worse. Here are some tried-and-tested tips on dealing with angry tenants from our professional property managers:
When tenants are enraged, not being heard can anger them more. The first thing to do in times of conflict is to listen to your tenant. Although it can be a challenge to listen to a raging tenant berate you, try your best not to interrupt as this shows that you care about what they’re going through. Remember, the fastest way to deal with the issue is by figuring out what’s agitating them – not by invalidating their problems.
With that said, keep in mind to take swift action when it comes to repairs. This is one of the most common causes of tenant complaints. Don’t ignore your tenant when they tell you that something in their unit needs repairs, otherwise, their anger will slowly grow. Ultimately, your tenants want to be treated well – to do this, ensure that you abide by your obligations as their landlord.
#2 Respond Carefully
Once you’ve given your tenant the chance to vent, steer the conversation in a positive direction. It can be tempting to talk back to the tenant, but as the landlord, you need to be the bigger person. Avoid telling your tenant that they’re being unreasonable or that they’re wrong – even if they are. What’s important is that you reassure them to get them to mellow down.
When you respond, choose your words carefully. Speak in first person, sticking to pronouns like “I” and “we” if you’re working with a South Florida property management company. “I” and “we” statements show that you’re taking action, while “you” statements make the tenant feel attacked. Avoid using words such as “won’t”, “don’t”, and “not” as these indicate your unwillingness to solve the issue.
#3 Don’t Blame the Tenant
Let’s say your tenant gets angry because you told them that they’d have to cover the costs of repairing the window since the damage wasn’t due to wear and tear. The real reason why the window got broken was that the tenant’s kid threw a baseball at it. While it’s clearly the tenant’s fault, some tenants will get angry when the landlord won’t bend to what they want.
In this situation, don’t point the finger at the tenant. Doing so makes your tenant feel attacked. When tenants spin the story to get their way, prove them wrong without pointing the finger, but with concrete evidence. And, as always, be cordial at all times.
#4 Find a Solution Together
While it’s acceptable to tell your tenant that you’re going to deal with it, they want to be involved in the problem-solving process. After your tenant has shared their “woes”, offer your own solutions but be open to their solutions, as well. After all, your tenants are the ones who know what life in the unit is really like.
However, if the problem has something to do with the tenant (in other words, they’re in the wrong), you should work together to find a solution that works for the two of you. For instance, if the tenant has financial issues, consider setting up a repayment plan.
#5 Provide Updates
If it’s something that can’t be dealt with at that moment, remember to provide your tenants with regular updates. This will show your tenant that you’re making an effort to take care of the matter and that you aren’t belittling their problems. If you’re working with a property management company, ask if they have a tenant portal where you can upload reports that the tenant can download at any time.
#6 Document Everything
There’s a reason why a South Florida property management company prefers to communicate in writing. However “small” the issue is, it should be documented to ensure that your rights, as well as your tenant’s rights, are protected by the law. If your tenant angrily calls you at night, send a follow-up email during the day to detail what was discussed in the call. In addition, keep copies of work orders, invoices, etc. in the event that the issue involves repairs. In case the tenant later claims that you didn’t take action, you’ll have the files to defend yourself in court.
Landlording is challenging as it is, but when tenants get angry, it can turn into a task that you’d gladly let a property management company take care of. That’s a field that Luxury Property Care is an expert at. Aside from property management, our property managers are trained in tenant management – particularly angry tenant management. With us by your side, you won’t have to deal with aggressive tenants on your own. As professionals, we understand that your tenants deserve to be treated with the same respect that we show to you.